WORRIED community minded residents have written to top officials seeking a meeting over growing concerns at a premier Saddleworth beauty spot.

The move comes after tourists thronged Dovestone Reservoir at Easter weekend causing problems with illegal barbecues and jamming a car park at the Greenfield site.

A valiant team of Dovestone marshals, backed by enthusiastic volunteers from the RSPB and community PCSOs, worked diligently to cope with crowds taking advantage of the bright sunshine.

But visitors continued to ignore the strict exclusion zone regarding fires and began setting up "camp fires".

Others were stopped on arrival at the site and asked to hand over the ready made barbecues. Some visitors arrived with bags of charcoal and other kindling.

At one point on Easter Sunday, a message went out on social media via GMP Saddleworth and Lees saying: “Five barbecues confiscated from people trying to access the Dovestone site.

“Marshals and police are working together with the rangers service. Very large numbers of people coming into the site but no issues and all flowing through.”

Later police said: "Marshals reported the site was at a standstill. Cars have parked up along all double yellow line routes and towards 40 Row.

“We, along with marshals, have worked hard to keep it clear but the sheer volume has (for now) got us.”

Police resources had to deploy elsewhere and Traffic Wardens have gone off duty.

They added: “Large footfalls continue and that has been increased by the arrival of large groups / families with picnic blankets and food.

“Some groups have numbered 30/40 in number and they have all arrived in vehicles. Marshals will remain on site until 8pm but due to serious incidents across Oldham Police will not be able to remain at the site.”

And while locals praised their stalwart efforts, others took to social media urging the introduction of on the spot finds to curb the perpetrators.

One said: “There are serious Health and Safety concerns now for residents as well as members of the public.

"More people on site, more risk of accidents or other emergencies. How would emergency services get through?

“This is only the beginning of the tourist season,” they added.

A letter to authorities a year ago suggested more on the ground management and prevention of the fires in the first place.

“Notices, warnings, appeals, grandiose plans for moorland protection and preservation are simply not working.

“In part, if you will excuse the pun, they are all going up in a puff of smoke. Positive, meaningful and sustainable on the ground action is needed now.

‘Among suggestions there is a compelling demand for the introduction of on the spot fines for anyone seen lighting a bbq or starting any kind of fire.”

This week’s letter was sent to Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester’s mayor, MP Debbie Abrahams, Oldham Council, UU RSPB, GMP, Peak District National park, the Saddleworth Parish council and community groups.

It said: “In the last two weeks alone, Dovestone has re-entered the public agenda again for all the wrong reasons.

“The site has featured in numerous stories since last year highlighting mounting concerns over parking, illegal use of barbecues, sheep worrying, public safety, damage to wildlife and the environment.

“Easter weekend proved to be another challenging time.

“Could we possibly call a meeting with the sincere wish to bring some urgent action to what locals believe could be a worsening situation as the year unfolds?”